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What Requirements do I Need to Fulfill to Work In Pharmaceuticals?

Pharmaceutical JobsThe area of pharmaceuticals is a huge and sprawling multi-billion dollar industry and with that comes a huge number (and variety) of jobs for people to take part in.

From research science to marketing; from assistant to CEO, practically any sort of job you can imagine can be found in the pharmaceuticals industry, in one form or another.

But let’s assume that you’re not necessarily interested in the marketing end of things or in the PR spin; if you’re here because you want to learn how to break into the research, science and development end of the pharmaceutical market, then we’ll be happy to oblige.

What sort of requirements will you need to showcase in your resume in order to get your foot in the door for that interview and hopefully land in a job?

The Right Education You Need for Pharmaceutical Jobs

No matter what sort of job you ultimately end up doing, you need the right education. If you’re interested in working in pharmacy research, then the right education will include a Bachelor of Science or an MS in biochemistry plus previous lab experience, either in school or as a lab technician which is an entry level position that mostly requires a GED and some training in your field (usually a two or four year degree is fine). Starting out as a lab tech isn’t the most interesting, but it is a way to get into the field without requiring six or eight years of education and a way to get experience to bolster your education.

If you have your BS or MS and the related experience, then you break into becoming a research associate and this is where the bulk of the ‘real science’ happens, with experiments, analysis and does the work under the supervision of their seniors. You can promote yourself to research specialist over time which gives you more input into your research path.

If you get your PhD, you can become an associate scientist. They have plenty of autonomy over their research and work with their supervisor rather than under them. After that is full blown scientist, doing all of the lab running, planning and execution of huge projects. And then there are the senior scientists who oversee several scientists, but stop doing lab work.

No matter what you start as, there is always the option to split to management, but if you don’t have your PhD, then advancement and promotion on this side is harder. On the science side, you do have the opportunity with experience, the right break-throughs and plenty of smarts to go as high as you want, even to associate scientist without a PhD, though this is rare.

Bottom line: plan to spend a lot of time in school if you want to make it beyond lab assistant in this field.

Pharmaceutical Job Requirements

Although the field is huge and there are many sorts of job positions, the requirements are still very stringent because there are a huge number of applicants. Make sure to do all you can to stand out, including internship experience, specialized degrees, great communication and leadership skills and a graduate degree which isn’t necessary, but will give you more flexibility. You’ll also just have to be patient and maybe brush up on your marketing skills as marketers with a science background are in great demand and will continue to be for a while.

Big Pharma may be, well big, but you still have to make sure you do all you can to make yourself stand out if you want to work in this field. It’s important to strengthen your education, have good communication skills, take advantage of any internships or experience based education you have and be patient while job hunting. Good luck!